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Ephesians 5:17- “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is”

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FDCM Bible College School of Eagles “Building The Kingdom of God One Student At A Time” Biblical Hermeneutics Ephesians 5:17- “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” D Div. Linda Lanier+ CEO/ President All Rights Reserved © 2019 Biblical Hermeneutics I. Introduction II. Table of Contents Section One: Prerequisites for this study of Biblical Hermeneutics The Basis of Hermeneutics Hermeneutics and Related Terms Defined Axioms of Hermeneutics Section: Two Rules of Interpretation Section One: Prerequisites for this study of Biblical Hermeneutics What is the study of Hermeneutics? It is the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible. It is also a part of a broader field of Hermeneutics which involves the study of principles of interpretation for all forms of communication, nonverbal, and verbal. In the history of biblical interpretation, four major types of hermeneutics have emerged: the literal, moral, allegorical and anagogical. • Allegorical meaning is relenting to or having the characteristics or expression by means of symbolic fictional figures. • Anagogical- a method of mystical or spiritual interpretation of statements, or events; especially scriptural exegesis. • Exegesis- a critical explanation or interpretation of a text. The primary need of the study of hermeneutics is to determine and understand the meaning of biblical text. The purpose therefore, is to bridge the gap between our minds and the minds of the biblical writers through a through knowledge of the original languages, ancient history and the comparison of scripture with scripture. Is Biblical Interpretation Necessary? Any discussion about biblical interpretation must answer “why”. Why do we need to interpretive processes and methods to understand the Bible? (1) Interpretation Is Both an Art and Science. The artistic and scientific methods used in biblical interpretation provide us ‘a strategy that will enable us to understand the meaning and significance of what an author or speaker intended to communicate? (2) There are no Objective Observers. The Bible rose within historical, and personal circumstances, so will our own interpretations. (3) Determining “the meaning” can be complex. Leveraging the insights of speech act theory, the authors explore the complexities of meaning arising from what the Bible says to how it’s understood and what it means. “ There will be some challenges in Biblical Interpretation. The study of hermeneutics is needed to overcome four barriers caused by our distance: (1) Time Distance- given that biblical events and their writings span many centuries, and it’s been about 1900 years since the last word was written. ‘we may be at a loss to understand what a text means because it involves subjects for removed in the past. (2) Cultural Distance- On the pages of the Bible we encounter customs, beliefs, and practices that may not make sense to us today. Because of our lack of understanding of biblical customs, cultures of the bible, we must be aware of our customs or cultures that may blind us to the real interpretation of scriptures. (3) Geographical Distance- Unless we have had the opportunity to visit some of the places mentioned in the Bible, we may lack a mental, visual databank that would aid us in our understanding of certain events. (4) Language Distance- Most importantly, there is the reality that the Bible was written in languages inaccessible to most people. Therefore, we depend upon trained biblical scholars to translate the biblical languages and their literary devices into our native languages, but their work is necessary in trying to interpret biblical scripture. How Correct Biblical Interpretation Benefits Believers Correct principles and methods for interpreting the Bible is essential and needed. Klein, Blomberg, and Hubbard offer three way such method will benefit you, personality as you study God’s Word: (a) You will be able to discern God’s Message. “A careful system of hermeneutics provides the means for the interpretation of the text’s intention, and more importantly, to understand what God intended to communicate through human minds and hands. (pg. 63). (b) Correctly understanding scripture is an arduous and often puzzling some of the difficult tensions we will face in the task of: • The bible is divine, yet it has come to us in human form. The commands of God are absolute, yet the historical context of the writings appears to relativize certain elements: • The divine message must be clear, yet many passages seem ambiguous. • We are dependent only on the Spirit for instruction, yet scholarship is surely necessary. • The Scriptures seem to presuppose a literal and historical reading, yet we are also confronted by the figurative, and nonhistorical. (e.g. parables). • Proper interpretation requires the interpreter’s personal freedom, yet some degree of external, corporate authority appears imperative. • The objectivity of the biblical message is essential, yet our presupposition seem to inject a degree of subjectivity into the interpretive process’. The question may come up again why study “Hermeneutics?” But what does hermeneutics have to do with reading and understanding the Bible? Haven’t God’s people through the millennia read and understood the Scriptures without recourse to hermeneutics? The answer to this second question is a technical one, the answer being no. for though we might not always be conscious of it, without an organized approach or means of understanding, we would not be able to comprehend anything. For example, think of normal everyday life. We engage in conservation or read a newspaper, and we unconsciously interpret and understand the meanings of what we hear or read. Reading or watching a television program or listening to a lecture, we are familiar with subjects in own culture and language intuitively and without consciously thinking of using methods. Though we are not aware of it, we are employing methods of interpretation which enables us to understand accurately. While this approach to biblical interpretation may reflect a commendable confidence in God, it reveals a simplistic and even a potentially dangerous understanding of the illumination of the Holy Spirit and the clarity of ‘scripture’. The role of the Spirit in understanding God’s word is indispensable. The Spirit convinces God’s people of the truth of the biblical message and convicting and enabling us to live consistently with that truth. But the Spirit’s help does not replace the need to interpret biblical passages according to the principles of language communication. (pg. 4), The Meaning of the Message Any type of oral or written communication involves three expressions of meaning: (1) what the speaker or writer meant by what he or she said. (2) What the recipient actually understood by the statements? (3) What meaning is actually encoded in the text or utterances itself? Even though we seek to understand the meaning of the biblical text, all we have is the text itself, the author’s intended meaning cannot be fully uncovered since he or she may not be available to explain what was meant. “D. Tracy, Plurality and Ambiguity. Hermeneutics, Religion, Hope (San Francisco: Harper, 19871, 33. 9those who believe that women can be ordained ministers have no difficulty detecting those biblical passages that emphasize the crucial role women played in biblical history. Yet those who argue for the traditional understanding of the role of women in the church that precludes ordination point to those passages they believe teach the subordination of women. Presuppositions and agendas clearly influence what evidence interpreters’ value more highly. A classic documentation of this phenomenon occurs in W. Swanley, Slavery, Sabbath, War, and Women (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1983). 10.Following a more semantically based model, G. B. Caird investigates the phenomenon of meaning in some detail in The Language and Imagery of the Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1980), especially pp. 32-61. Under “meaning” he assesses referential meaning, sense, value, entailment, and intention. The overlap with our three categories is clear. The meaning encoded in the text itself probably relates most closely with referential meaning, though that in no way exhausts what a text “means.” For valuable discussions of these semantic relations see J. Lyons, Semantics, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 19771 or S. Ullmann, Principles of Semantics, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1957)”. Lesson One: Principles One Must Accept 1. God has spoken. The whole bible is based on this fact. Unless one believes in God and that He has communicated His will to man, it is pointless to pursue a further study of scripture. 2. The Bible is a revelation of God’s will. Proof of the inspiration of the Bible is seen in: a. Its unity b. Its miracles c. Its prophecies d. The grand scope of the whole book e. Its influences f. Its scientific accuracy and foreknowledge g. Its historical accuracy h. Its unexcelled moral tone i. The uniqueness of its style (1) Its brevity (2) Its omissions (3) Its impartiality (4) Its calmness 3. The Bible has been accurately translated 4. The Bible is infallible 5. The Bible is complete and final “It the complete divine plan of God, and His revelation of who he is, and who we are. Its our story the beginning and the ending. A perfect pattern for the faith and life of every Christian, and the final glory in the system of salvation for man” (W. Robert Palmer, How to Understand the Bible, p.10) 6. The Bible is intelligible, it has the capabilities of being understood. It is a revelation, a manifestation of divine truth, an uncovering of that which is hidden so that it may be clearly seen. 7. The Bible can be understood by mankind. (Eph. 3:1-5). Since God commands man to understand it, (Ephesians 5:17), it therefore can be understood because God never places on an that which he cannot accomplish. (I Corinthians 10:13) 8. The Bible is authoritative. It is authoritative because it is the Word of God who possess all authority. (Matt. 28:18) and it comes from heaven. (Matt. 21:23-27). 9. The authority of the Bible demands submission. If it is from heaven, it must be obeyed. (Matt. 21:25) Questions for Review and Discussion 1. Why is the whole bible based on the fact that God has spoken? 2. In relation to the Bible, what is inspiration? 3. In what ways do the following give evidence of the inspiration of the Bible? a. The unity of the Bible b. Prophecies found in the Bible c. The scientific and historical accuracies of the Bible. 4. What are some things that help us know whether or not the version of the Bible we are using is an accurate translation? 5. Define “infallible”. Does the term apply to the Bible? Explain your answer. 6. Give some evidence to show the Bible is: a. Complete b. God’s final revelation to man. 7. Define “intelligible” in what way is it related to man’s ability to understand the Bible? 8. Why is the Bible authoritative? What are some direct consequences of its authority? Axioms of Hermeneutics AXIOMS FOR BIBLE INTERPRETATION It is vitally important that as Christians we must be able to discern which interpretation is valid? Different people read and interpret the same text and have different ideas about its meaning. Why? Don’t we all have the same Lord, the same faith, the same baptism of the Spirit, and the same God and Father? And yet the question remains why don’t we agree on what the “Bible” teaches? Roy Zuck wrote a book entitled “Basis Bible Interpretation: A Practical Guide to Discovering Biblical Truth. What makes this book so practical is that it’s written for normal people He tacked the problem of ‘whose view is valid’? Axioms are defined as the facts that ought to be widely held and understood truth. Genesis 1:1- In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. John 1:1-3- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Roy Zuck emphasized at the Bible is a human book. The bible is a collection of books written by real people, in a real language, and they were meant to actually communicate something understandable to the original audience. This can have several things in common. The bible was written in normal language The original audience understood the words. They understood the message. The books were given by God to the people, through men moved by the Spirit, and He intended them to be understood. There’s no need to call a magician, a sorcerer or a qualified expert to explain the basic sense of Scripture. Of God could speaks in figurative language at times. The Lord didn’t literally make David to lie down in green pastures. Yahweh hasn’t literally sent four horsemen to patrol the earth. (Zech.1:7-10). Jeremiah did not literally see the city of Jerusalem weep bitterly in the night. (Lam. 1:2). The context tells us when the author is using figurative language. We do the same thing in our everyday language, for example, “I’d kill for a good cup of coffee, right now!” If you don’t understand why a book was written, then you won’t really understand what the author is saying or the reason why. Should we go and build an ark? Should we go and marry a prostitute (Hosea 1). Is Hosea telling us to avoid worshipping pieces of wood (Hosea. 4:12)? Was Habakkuk prophesying about Islam (Hab. 1:5-11)? Should women wear heading coverings (I Corinthian 11 chapter)? Were Paul’s comments about women in church only applicable to the local situation in Ephesus? Should a Christian never to Samaria (Matt. 10:5)? If you try and understand the context, then you’ll have a better shot at understanding the book. The usage of a good bible dictionary and a good introduction to the Old and New Testaments with these aids will assist in discovering the full reality of what the Scriptures says in both the Old and New Testaments. The biblical authors were influenced by their cultures. This is simple, and everyone ought to be able to relate. For example, An American might use sports metaphors in their writing. The Bible must be understood in light of its context. When it comes to interpreting individual words and their relationship to the larger context, there is no ‘literal’ meaning. None. People who know better often use the term ‘literal’ many times out of necessity; what they may have mean is use the word default or general in aiding the understanding of their audiences. Each biblical book was written in a specific literary form. When we read something, we instinctively recalibrate our minds to interpret accordingly. The bible is written in normal language that followed normal patterns. It was written for a specific people, in a specific context, and it has to be understood that way. The people who wrote the books were also influenced by their own individual culture and society. Each writing has a specific literary form, or several, and they each have to be interpreted on that basis. Remember that each writing was meant to be understood according to basic principles of logic and communication. 1 Section: Two Rules of Interpretation Hermeneutics: The Eight Rules of Biblical Interpretation “And so, we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophesy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation”) II Peter 1:19,20 NAS). There can’t be a ‘sure word’ about the meaning of Scripture or anything else, unless there is a sure method use to interpret the words. There are eight rules which are the center of all grammatical interpretation of the scripture. They have been accepted and used by scholars from Socrates to the present. While it is my and others desire that these tools will be used to rightly divide the word of truth of the Holy Bible, which is equally applicable to legal, historical, and other such languages. However, since the Bible teaches that God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33). The question yet remain how can the many disagreements today between Christian denominations and the proliferation of the cults be explained since some or nearly all, claim to use the Bible as the basis of their doctrines? The Rev. Guy Duty said in his book, Divorce & Remarriage. “When two interpretations are claimed for a scripture, the construction most in agreement with all the facts of the case should be adopted. When all the facts of an interpretation are in agreement they sound together in harmony, like notes in a chord. Biblical interpretation is more than knowing a set of rules, but it cannot be done without the rules. So, learn the rules well and after learning them apply them. (Divorce & Remarriage, Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1967). The Eight Rules: (1) The rule of definition: what does the word mean? Any study of scripture must begin with a study of words. Define your terms and then keep to the terms defined. The interpreter should conscientiously abide by the plain meaning of words. This quite might require using a Hebrew/English or Greek/English lexicon in order to make sure that the sense of the English translation is understood.  A couple of good examples of this are the Greek words "allos" and "heteros". Both are usually translated as "another" in English – yet "allos" literally means "another of the same type" and "heteros" means "another of a different type." (2) The rule of USAGE: It must be remembered that the Old Testament was written originally by, to and for Jews. The words and idioms must have been intelligible to them – just as the words of Christ when talking to them must have been. The majority of the New Testament likewise was written in a milieu of Greco-Roman (and to a lesser extent Jewish) culture and it is important to not impose our modern usage into our interpretation. It is not worth much to interpret a great many phrases and histories if one’s interpretations are shaded by pre-conceived notions and cultural biases, thereby rendering an inaccurate and ineffectual lesson. (3) The rule of CONTEXT: The meaning must be gathered from the context. Every word you read must be understood in the light of the words that come before and after it. Many passages will not be understood at all, or understood incorrectly, without the help afforded by the context. A good example of this is the Mormon practice of using 1 Cor. 8:5b: "…for there be gods many and lords many…" as a "proof text" of their doctrine of polytheism. However, a simple reading of the whole verse in the context of the whole chapter (e.g. where Paul calls these gods "so-called"), plainly demonstrates that Paul is not teaching polytheism. (4) The rule of HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: The interpreter must have some awareness of the life and society of the times in which the Scripture was written. The spiritual principle will be timeless but often can’t be properly appreciated without some knowledge of the background. If the interpreter can have in his mind what the writer had in his mind when he wrote – without adding any excess baggage from the interpreter’s own culture or society – then the true thought of the Scripture can be captured resulting in an accurate interpretation. (5) The rule of LOGIC: Interpretation is merely logical reasoning. When interpreting Scripture, the use of reason is everywhere to be assumed. Does the interpretation make sense? The Bible was given to us in the form of human language and therefore appeals to human reason – it invites investigation. It is to be interpreted as we would any other volume: applying the laws of language and grammatical analysis. As Bernard Ramm said: "What is the control we use to weed out false theological speculation? Certainly the control is logic and evidence… interpreters who have not had the sharpening experience of logic…may have improper notions of implication and evidence. Too frequently such a person uses a basis of appeal that is a notorious violation of the laws of logic and evidence." (Protestant Biblical Interpretation, Boston: W. A. Wilde, 1956) (6) The rule of PRECEDENT: We must not violate the known usage of a word and invent another for which there is no precedent. Just as a judge’s chief occupation is the study of previous cases, so must the interpreter use precedents in order to determine whether they really support an alleged doctrine. Consider the Bereans in Acts 17:10-12 who were called "noble" because they searched the Scriptures to determine if what Paul taught them was true. (7) The rule of UNITY: The parts of Scripture being interpreted must be construed with reference to the significance of the whole. An interpretation must be consistent with the rest of Scripture. An excellent example of this is the doctrine of the Trinity. No single passage teaches it, but it is consistent with the teaching of the whole of Scripture (e.g. the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are referred to individually as God; yet the Scriptures elsewhere teach there is only one God). (8) The rule of INFERENCE: An inference is a fact reasonably implied from another fact. It is a logical consequence. It derives a conclusion from a given fact or premise. It is the deduction of one proposition from another proposition. Such inferential facts or propositions are sufficiently binding when their truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence. Competent evidence means such evidence as the nature of the thing to be proved admits. Satisfactory evidence means that amount of proof which would ordinarily satisfy an unprejudiced mind beyond a reasonable doubt. Jesus used this rule when he proved the resurrection of the dead to the unbelieving Sadducees in Matt. 22:23-33. (9) Learning these eight rules and properly applying them will help keep any interpreter from making errors and will hopefully alleviate many of the disagreements unfortunately present in Christianity today. However, these eight principles are no substitute for the Holy Spirit which will, if you let Him, guide you in the truth [John 14:26]. If you receive Christ into your heart, God will give you the Holy Spirit freely as a gift [Acts 2:38]. I urge you, if you have not already done so, to examine the claims and the work of Jesus Christ and to receive Him as your Savior. Conclusion: I will be closing this teaching with some words from King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, excepting our Lord Jesus Christ. “A wise man will hear and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation." [Prov. 1:5,6] 1. Bible Study Methods and Rules of Interpretation Course Description: An introduction to basic Bible study methods and rules of interpretation with emphasis on accurately understanding and obeying God’s Word and the development of practical skills. Students will learn to determine what Scripture says, what it means, and how it can be applied. 1. Bible Study Methods and Rules of Interpretation Course Description: An introduction to basic Bible study methods and rules of interpretation with emphasis on accurately understanding and obeying God’s Word and the development of practical skills. Students will learn to determine what Scripture says, what it means, and how it can be applied. Course Goals:  1. To train pastors and church leaders to properly and systematically study and interpret the Bible in order to “correctly handle the Word of Truth” so that they may be “equipped for every good work.” 2. To lead pastors and church leaders to an awareness of their need to personally apply and obey the Bible as they preach and teach others. 3. To demonstrate that an important purpose of studying the Bible is for personal “training in righteousness” so pastors and church leaders will become more like Jesus Christ. 4. To emphasize the necessity to absolutely and totally depend on the illumination and teaching ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit. 5. To encourage pastors and church leaders to engage in personal, serious, regular Bible study in the text of Scripture. ***Study the Word of God to know the God of the Word***
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